Creative writing/literature

School communities can access a wide range of books by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) authors and illustrators, and engage with many local storytellers to enhance students’ understanding of and experience with Indigenous Australia arts and culture.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are the traditional keepers of their oral history, we are the custodians presiding over Indigenous Australian literature, each time we translate BlackWords onto white paper we are reclaiming an integral piece of our heritage, culture and language. We canvass an essential and significant position on the vast Australian literary landscape, infusing contemporary and ancestral values through all genres including but not restricted to: Fiction, Non-fiction, Biography, Autobiography, Poetry, Academic, Short stories.”
 Yvette Holt, poet BlackWords – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Writers and Storytellers
Here are just a few contacts to inspire further research…

Western Australian providers of books by, or access to, ATSI authors/illustrators:


Mobile device applications:

  • ILF Books by Jundra - using the Chatty Kidz platform, pages are turned in real-time by the the readers - and words, colours and pictures are all sensitive to touch; widening scope for educational learning and reader interaction. The first featured book, Bangs 2 Jurrukuk, is written by senior girls from Tiwi College on the Tiwi Islands and is a captivating tale which shares traditional Tiwi culture and values of love, courage and 'One People’.

  • Mamang-a story based app to encourage cultural literacy, available for iPad and Android.

  • The Waarda series for young readers are now available as ebooks.

Further reading and contacts:

  • Wajoo Book by Gina Williams - Wanjoo is a song Gina Williams wrote in Noongar language to teach children and adults some of the words of welcome to Noongar country. This book is a chance to look at this song and language in a new way; illustrations produced by students from Ashfield Primary School in Perth, Western Australia.
  • Department of Education and Celebrate WA Aboriginal English story books (2016). Story books in Aboriginal English provide teachers and students with a unique resource that recognises and values cultural diversity in Western Australia and uses languages of Aboriginal peoples. View documentary videos about the projects completed in Medina, Kondinin, and Wiluna.
  • Indigenous Literacy Foundation - works with remote Indigenous communities and supplies books and literacy resources to women’s centres, crèches, schools, libraries, safe houses, and in art centres.
  • IAD Press - based in Mparntwe (Alice Springs, Northern Territory), the traditional lands of the Arrernte people, IAD Press is the publishing arm of the Institute for Aboriginal Development (Aboriginal Corporation) and has published works by ATSI writers and artists since the early 1970s.
  • BlackWords provides access to both general and specific information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literary cultures and traditions, providing a platform for the investigation and articulation of what 'Black writing' and 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literatures' might be. BlackWords also contains records describing published and unpublished books, stories, plays, poems and criticism associated with eligible writers and storytellers and includes works in English and in Indigenous languages.
  • Teaching with BlackWords by Dr Jeanine Leane, National Coordinator, BlackWords 2012.
  • Aboriginal Studies Press – the publishing arm of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)
  • Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia – Indigenous Story Book project.
  • MacMillan World Library - Indigenous Australians.
  • The Little Red Yellow Black Website - An introduction to Indigenous Australia. 
  • Creative Spirits – Aboriginal Book Store.
  • Indij Readers – produces books which can be used in the classroom exploring and assisting with the implementation of Aboriginal perspectives across the key learning areas of the curriculum.
  • Indigenous Storytelling (Facebook group) – promotes Indigenous voices and values expressed through the ancient art of storytelling.
  • In the Womb of the Rainbow Serpent (2012).

To find out more about the arts education events linked to creative writing and literature visit our What’s On page. 

Professional teachers associations list.

Artist-in-Residence case studies incorporating Aboriginal student engagement in creative writing/literature or ATSI arts or cultural content include Safety Bay Primary School, Challis Community Primary School (Early Childhood Education Centre), Qairading District High School, and Yule Brook College.
Authors, illustrators or storytellers interested in developing programs for schools, visit Working in the School Context for tips about project planning, creating education resources and professional learning opportunities for teachers, and marketing to schools.
Invite an ATSI artist or organisation to be artists-in-residence in your school; check funding providers here.

Warning. Information in this section of the ArtsEdge website may contain the names, images or recordings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. The ArtsEdge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture in education portal may also contain links to sites that may use images and/or recordings of Aboriginal and Islander people now deceased. Artists or educators researching Indigenous content for educational purposes should use their discretion when viewing online content.

Details about artists and organisations outside the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries do not constitute an endorsement of those artists or organisations or their programs, products or services. School communities are responsible for making their own assessment of these artists or organisations in accordance with relevant Department of Education policies, procedures and guidelines. Users should seek professional and specialised advice for their individual situations.